One stage of honey production is extraction. Honey is a product with minimal types and levels of microorganisms; however it could be contaminated during its manipulation. The aim of this work was to evaluate the microbiological contamination of honey at different processing points. Mould and yeast, total coliform number as well as the presence of Salmonella spp. were determined in 50 samples. All comb and centrifugal honey-extractor samples showed low levels of mould and yeast (< or = 10 CFU/g of honey) and an absence of total coliforms. Contamination problems were observed at the uncapping stage of beeswax-capped honey separation, showing that the "unheated" honey process would imply more risks. Ten to fifty CFU/g of honey of mould and yeast were observed in four out of 30 samples from the honey pump and drums. The present work shows the importance of preventing contamination at the beeswax-honey separation stage, and also highlights the need to perform microbiological studies in the honeyhouse, which would contribute to determine critical points in control quality systems.
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